Coffee roasting machines are very delicate, and as such, you might hesitate to clean them. If you want to preserve the flavor of your coffee and, most importantly, prevent fires, it is super important that you put in the effort of cleaning it at least once every two hundred hours of use. Learn how to clean your coffee roaster correctly in this article.
Be sure to also check out “Your Go-To Restaurant Cleaning Checklist” for a guide to a clean business.
Frequency of Using Your Coffee Roaster
The first thing I’m going to do is explain to you the technical aspect of why you need to clean your machine: I am going to use the classic drum roaster as an example.
Drum roasters have a part called the cyclone, its function is to trap all the residue inside it. Residue travels on the hot air out the exhaust pipe, and the cyclone traps as many particles as it can before they can get out through the exhaust pipe. This part of the roaster you must disassemble and clean after intensive use of the machine. However, this is not the only thing you need to take into account when cleaning your machine.
Even after processing the bean, an invisible membrane of the coffee fruit will remain stuck to the coffee bean. This membrane will come off as you roast it. The hot air inside the drum will transport it through the duct and it will, hopefully, exit through the exhaust pipe.
Chaff, ash-like as it is, likes to stick to anything it touches. So your machine will build up a lot of this chaff over time, with particularly big build-ups showing up on the exhaust pipe.
Decaffeinated beans retain no chaff. Some beans retain very little chaff because they have been subjected to a process called polishing. On the other hand, some beans come completely covered in chaff. In this case, you can remove it during the cooling procedure if it bothers you for aesthetic reasons. A small amount of chaff has no impact on the final flavor of the coffee.
Need a little more info about your coffee beans? Check out “10 Best Types of Coffee Beans” here.
Coffee Chaff Uses
On a more cheerful note, coffee chaff can be used as compost or for mulching, since it has properties that make it good for gardening:
- Wards off harmful slugs and snails.
- Adds valuable nutrients like nitrogen.
- Speeds up the growth of vegetables.
The process of roasting the coffee beans will also deposit creosote, coffee oils, and other solid waste product of combustion and heat inside the machine. When all of these things build up inside the machine, they can create friction and make it harder for the air to flow freely inside the machine, contributing to overheating.
Before reading on… Are you a cafe owner just starting out in your cafe? Check out “Leadership Tips For Cafe Owners” for helpful tips.
How to Clean Your Coffee Roaster Correctly
Now, the one thing you should do regularly is clean –with a scraper– all of the build-ups that you can see after a few good uses. If you feel like you’re cleaning too much, it’s probably because you’ve been roasting your beans rather on the darker side. Light roasts don’t dirty your machine as much.
A simple scraping tool followed by some vacuuming should do the trick for now, just to keep the air flowing the way it should be. However, you’ll come to notice that even when you’re doing this daily cleaning, there is going to be a steady decrease of airflow inside your machine. Even if your machine has a chaff collection bin which you clean frequently.
The amount of residue sticking to parts of the machine that you can’t see is going to hinder the machine’s performance. Putting it at a higher risk of roaster fire.
How to Deep Clean Your Coffee Roaster Correctly
Here comes the more difficult part. We could be talking about taking some parts of your machine apart, getting inside of your machine and, for some people, using cleaning products.
The best way to go about deep cleaning for your machine is to contact the manufacturers– they’ll probably have a list of products that can be used as well as some instructions as to how to clean your coffee roaster correctly.
- Cooling tray-It is usually advised to vacuum underneath the cooling tray at least once a week.
- Combustion chamber-If you can reach this part of your machine (improvise some tools depending on the design of the roaster) it’s also a good idea to give it a monthly dusting.
- Roasting drum-Scrape the dirt off the parts that you can’t see of the roasting drum. It’s not clean just because you can’t see it!
- Fans and exhaustion pipe-These are the ones you should pay the most attention to since it’s usually because of poor maintenance of these that roaster fires occur.
Don’t just clean the outermost part of the pipe, take it apart and make it shine inside and out!
Clean Everything Else Too
It’s your responsibility to clean anything else too. You must get serious about cleaning your machine and about a potential fire before the fire happens. While not fatal, a fire can be devastating for your machine. Scott Rao, Master of Coffee and Living Legend, has written about incorporating a water line into your machine.
While not everyone has enough knowledge to do that themselves, if you own a high-end coffee roaster, it might well be worth it to hire a professional to install the water lines on your machine so you can be sure that your investment is protected.
Home Coffee Roasters
Home coffee roasters usually don’t get as dirty because the size of the batches are significantly smaller, making for much less residue in the machine after each use. Even so, maintenance will keep your coffee beans from losing flavor during roasting.
Thank you for reading!! What other tips to clean your coffee roaster correctly can you share with the community? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation on our community page, we’ll see you there!
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